LOVELOCK, Nev. (AP) — Former football star and convicted felon O.J. Simpson on Thursday asked four parole board members in Nevada to release him from prison, and they granted him parole.
Simpson will be released in October, when he will have served the minimum of nine years behind bars.
Simpson received a 33-year sentence in 2008 for an armed robbery involving two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.
At the hearing, Simpson insisted to the parole board — as he has all along — that he was only trying to retrieve sports memorabilia and other mementos stolen from him and never meant to hurt anyone.
‘I’ve done my time. I’ve done it as well and respectfully as I think anybody can,” the 70-year-old former football star said, looking trimmer than he has in recent years.
Simpson walked briskly into the hearing room dressed in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He laughed at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90.
Simpson said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the crime that put him in prison, and he forcefully insisted that nearly all the mementos he saw in two memorabilia dealers’ hotel room belonged to him.
“In no way, shape or form did I wish them any harm,” he added, saying he later made amends with those in the room.
The hearing lasted a little more than an hour, after which the parole board retired to deliberate.
The Hall of Fame athlete’s chances of winning release were considered good, given similar cases and Simpson’s model behavior behind bars.
His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of during his 1995 “Trial of the Century” in Los Angeles, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Before the hearing concluded, one of the dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, said the former football great never pointed a gun at him during the confrontation, adding that it was one of the men with him who did so. Fromong said Simpson deserved to be released.
“He is a good man. He made a mistake,” Fromong said, adding the two remain friends.
Simpson’s eldest child, 48-year-old Arnelle Simpson, also testified on his behalf, saying her father is not perfect but realizes what a mistake he made and has spent years paying for it.
“We just want him to come home, we really do,” she said.
Simpson said that he has spent his time in prison mentoring fellow inmates, often keeping others out of trouble, and believes he has become a better person during those years.
Asked if he was confident he could stay out of trouble if he’s released, Simpson replied that he learned much during an alternative-to-violence course he took in prison and that in any case he gets along well with people.
“I had basically spent a conflict-free life,” he said — a remark that lit up social media with scornful and sarcastic comments given the murder case and a raft of allegations he abused his wife.
In a final statement to the board he apologized again.
“I’m sorry it happened, I’m sorry, Nevada,” he said. “I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it and I’m sorry.”
This story will be updated as more details become available.